Wellness Scout

Efficient At Home or Office Workouts That Won't Bore You! (Trust Me! I don't like working out at home.)

There was “blizzard” earlier this week and it’s mid-March! It’s supposed be the time of crocuses popping up under remnants of snow. Not a full on blizzard. But hey, we must all roll with the punches of life – rearranging schedules, appointments, social outings and more. However, the one thing blizzards don’t have to do is derail your workouts and movement schedule, unless you succumb to the strong desire to cuddle up under the blanket to watch movies, read a book or sleep – which by all means do, if that’s what your body is craving! We all need some rest and recharge. However, if cabin fever is at an all-time high, then I strongly recommend adding some movement to your morning, mid-day or 3pm slump.

I hate or rather hated, working out at home. Despised. I never thought it as good as the gym. Before having our daughter, I needed the gym to work out. Period. I loved the social atmosphere, organized classes, and the accountability from a paying monthly fee. Albeit, to make life work, we sometimes need to compromise. So I began working out at home especially after a friend said “Look at this space you have to work out”.  So I got over getting sweaty in my living room and the need for “machines” and embraced the videos as workout classes. Here’s a couple of my favorites for home or work!

Jessica Smith TV. – Approachable, fun workouts with varying intensities, duration and muscle groups. She touches on everything from walking programs, H.I.T. (high intensity training), yoga, strength, cardio, flexibility and stretching. And who doesn’t love, Peanut, her “active” French bulldog. She adds humor and intelligence while staying focused. She is ideal for those who are new to working out at home and has convinced me to slow down and focus on full range body movements for healing and integrated techniques versus the hamster wheel of the treadmill.

Fitness Blender– These are results oriented quick workouts, that are easy to follow with varying intensities; focused on one body part or total body. I worked up a sweat unexpectedly with a 5 min leg workout. They are efficient, with minimal talking and get right to the point. Best of all, the site has an easy to use search function for finding workouts based on duration, intensity, style (yoga, strength, cardio, HIT), body group (arms) and equipment. Pick your workout to start the day! I look forward to exploring their site more and interchanging with Jessica Smith T.V.

For those in the office, I provide a presentationon D.I.Y. Wellness Tips, in which I discuss how to incorporate movement at the office in various ways from unused conference rooms, to your desk, to even your stairwell. Otherwise, check out the following two sites.

Activity Bursts Everywhere – A.B.E.– These are 10 minute videos focusing on various parts of the body using your chair, your desk or by standing. If nothing else, watch for a good chuckle and you might find yourself partaking in the exercises. Don’t underestimate how just a few moves and deep breathing exercises can help curb cravings, refocus energy and provide that extra boost of focus to power through an hour two. I did these routinely at 11am at my desk vs reaching for those snacks. Worked every time.

Yoga – For a free version, try Yoga with Adriene. It's a six minute video for the desk stretch break. Otherwise, Desk Yogi, is a paid program with reminders, playlists, competitions and more for a virtually integrated at your desk wellness program.

Although I still prefer the gym, I knew I needed to continue these videos when my toddler joined the fun! 

Wellness Scout

When Snack Attack Hits, What’s in Your Desk Drawer?

11am hunger pains. 3pm boredom and energy fix. Does this sound familiar? When you open your desk drawer, go to the vending machine, or meander by your colleagues snack wall, do you see this…

Depending on how you feel, do you dive in with carefree abandon? Do you say “TODAY I need this treat!” or “I’ll do “better” tomorrow” or “It’s just one piece”.  Does the stress, hunger, boredom, tiredness or need for energy drive you to make decisions that may not be the most beneficial for your body? Do you even know if these options are harmful or helpful?

A recent articlesuggested that desk drawer snacks are an over rated office perk that should be removed in 2017 corporate wellness plans. I agree if used unwisely. However, rather than eliminate the desk drawer snacks, I say make it over. Take your current vending machine, desk drawer or maybe that shared group of snacks and give it a make-over with two simple points in mind:

Is this snack HARMFUL or HELPFUL for my body?

Rather than use “good” and “bad” – let’s move away from the punitive terminology and towards a mindset of nourishing the body; a perspective of self-reflection and thought; and a solution model that is tailored, not prescriptive.

Below I provide some options for making over that snack drawer with “HARMFUL” and “HELPFUL” in mind. This approach can be applied to vending machines by working with your vending machine company or check out ones that provide healthy snack/meal alternatives – LeanBox, Berkshire Natural, or Healthy You Vending as examples. This can also be applied to a shared snack wall or corner stocked in one employee’s area from pooled funds.

Before I suggest some options, let’s first define HARMFUL and HELFPUL

HARMFUL: Snacks that….raise and crash blood sugar, have too many unpronounceable ingredients, the first ingredient is sugar, corn syrup or another additive, added sugars is above 15g per serving, contain too many artificial ingredients, additives or oils. They make you jittery, bloated, cramped, or sluggish.

HELPFUL: Snacks that….are in their natural form (with packaging just to contain the item), have 5 or less ingredients OR have all natural ingredients such as apples, figs, brown rice, honey etc…all things we eat in their original form, have less than 15g of sugar roughly per serving. They satiate, are calming, energizing versus hyper and jittery.

Would a “HELPFUL” to your body snack drawer look like this?  (on the left are organic wild rice cakes)

Along with what’s captured in the pictures, below I’ve listed some ideas for what a HARMFUL and HELPFUL snack drawer might contain.

In an upcoming blog, I’ll discuss how to tackle the “WHYs” behind choosing your snack drawer options in the heat of the moment. But for now, consider the following: We all have those stressful, over tired days; hopefully not most of the time. We all have cravings and needs. Indulging 10% of the time – not every day - is beneficial for balance and to ward off the issues that come with denial. So allow yourself that 10%, but make sure that 10% isn’t a death by a thousand cuts. Meaning 10% every day. Crowd out that 10% desire and craving with the 90% helpful. Keep the helpful items within reach while also keeping moderation in mind.  

Craving strikes? Drink water, take a quick walk, stretch, talk with coworkers – DISTRACT yourself from the need to reach in that drawer for reasons other than an ENERGIZING SNACK.

Snack wisely.
Remind yourself of the drawer’s purpose.
Stay tuned for more tips when the snack attack hits!

—  Nuts – preferably raw (lightly salted if so)
—  Whole fruit – preferably organic
—  Dried fruit
—  Full fat plain yogurt
—  Hummus
—  Lentil/bean based chips
—  Carrots, peppers – veggies – preferably organic
—  Pre-portioned cheese – full fat or raw milk
—  Organic rice cakes
—  Coconut, seltzer water or tea.
—  Nut, seed, low sugar bars
—  Pickles, olives, kombucha (fermented tea drink)

—  Candy Bars & candy – high sugar or low % chocolate
—  Chips – especially those baked in corn, palm oil
—  Buttery packaged popcorn
—  Sugary cereal
—  Animal Crackers
—  Yogurt or chocolate covered pretzels
—  Pretzels with multiple flavorings
—  Juices – less than 90% fruit
—  High sugar energy/power bars
—  Pop tarts
  Cookies with high fructose corn syrup or artificial ingredients

NOTE: These are only recommendations for snacks based on Your Wellness Scout experience. This is not an endorsement or critique of any items specifically listed or pictured in this blog.